By Josh McMullen – Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs

LITTLE FALLS, NY – It took a little bit of hard work, but in the end, on Thursday night, Route 5 belongs to the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs for at least the next 24 hours.

The Diamond Dawgs jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings and never looked back.

Justin Hurd (Warwick, NY/SUNY Albany) got the scoring started in the second, cracking a shot to left field that bounced off the top of the fence but was only called a triple. He would come home on a passed ball a couple of pitches later. Luke Nomura (Maplewood, NJ/Fairfield) would come home when Cristino Tufano (Babylon, NY/George Washington) got hit with a pitch with the bases loaded. Levi McAllister (Concord, NH/SUNY Albany) scored the third run of the inning on a bloop single by Bryce Phelps (Denver, IA/Wagner).

Nomura drove in another two in the fifth with a no-doubt home run over the left-field fence that scored him and Hurd.

Another three runs would come in through one swing of Ethan Pues’ (Plant City, FL/Hudson Valley CC) bat in the seventh, scoring McAllister, Diego Tavarez (Spotswood, NJ/Wagner) and Hurd. Tufano would bring in Pues a couple of batters later with an RBI double to center field.

Utica brought home three in the later stages, but that was all they could muster, as the pitching of relievers Marcus Sanders and Gavin Miller got the job done in the end.

Austin Barnao (Ticonderoga, NY/Lynn) got the win for Mohawk Valley (7-7). Andrew Goldan (Watchung, NJ/Rutgers) got the loss for Utica (8-7).

Mohawk Valley and Utica will play again on Friday, this time at Donovan Stadium for the Blue Sox’ annual Autism Awareness game. The Diamond Dawgs will be back at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Monday when they host the Boonville Lumberjacks.

Photos by Dave Warner